Cloudforms (2019)

Paper, pigment ink, food dye, eyelets, dimensions variable

2019

 

This installation of the Cloudforms series was created for the exhibition Dictatorship of Gravity as part of the Carclew 2019 Artist in Residency program.

 

There's a scene in a Terry Pratchett book – The Light Fantastic – where a druid is piloting a 30 foot long rock through the air by the simple means of persuasion. The rock, it appears, does not actually know that it is impossible for it to fly - and so it continues happily gliding through the air under the druid's willpower (much to the consternation of an unwilling passenger, Rincewind the wizard).


I grew up flying in small planes - I have, quite literally, been flying since before I was born - and I always used to gaze out the window at the cloudscapes we passed through and imagine myself running out through the air among them, leaping from cirrus to cumulonimbus, freely exploring a sunset world of light and colour. In a way, this work is an attempt to reconstruct this state of mind. What was it like when we were young enough to believe that we could step out of the plane window and go running through the clouds? What was it like before we found out we were supposed to fall?


Our lives are governed and shaped by invisible physical forces, but there is something integral to human nature which drives us to push against these limitations. Humans have always wanted to fly. Like the wings made by Daedalus, these cloudforms are an act of rebellion against gravity, an attempt to be free of the ground. They are also a celebration of human creativity, unashamedly wearing the marks of their making, the creases and pencil marks, eyelets and folds. These are carefully constructed feats of imagination, and they dare you to suspend your disbelief for just long enough to escape - to soar.

 

© 2020 Felicity Townsend